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Flesh & Blood
Flesh & Blood RTÉ One, Tuesday 9.30pm

Celine Roberts

Can a daughter ever forgive a mother who abandoned her to a life of poverty, cruelty and child prostitution?

Can a daughter forgive a mother who abandoned her to a life of poverty, cruelty and child prostitution?  This is the story of Celine Roberts who spent 35 years trying to find her parents, convinced that a mother's love would heal the traumas of a shattered life. But when she found them, she was shocked to find that they too had their own family secrets!

Celine Roberts was born in 1948 in Cork. Her mother, an unmarried 19-year-old abandoned her, a couple of months later to childless foster parents in a small rural village in Co. Limerick. Her early years were marked by beatings, cruelty and extreme poverty. But it was at the tender age of seven that her real nightmare began. Celine was raped on her Communion day.

"He just left me there on the ground. I was seven years old. I was covered in blood. My torn skin eventually healed. My mind never did."

Following the rape her foster mother considered her initiated into the ways of sex and so Celine began life as a working child prostitute with her foster mother as her pimp.

"I cannot count the number of times it happened to me. An unknown number of faceless men, with forgettable names, in hidden places, for what seemed like an eternal number of years."

Eventually, at the age of 12 she was rescued and sent to the Mount Saint Vincent's Industrial School in Limerick where she stayed until she was 16.

"As I had come from hell, I thought the orphanage, with all it's rules and regulations, was heaven."

Throughout this traumatic childhood, her progression to adulthood and marriage, one thing kept her going - a burning desire to find her natural parents.  It took 35 years until she was finally reunited with them.  But when she did, nothing could have prepared her for the shock of finding out that her mother had married her natural father and she had nine siblings. As their relationship developed Celine was forced to face the fact that her mother still did not want her.

"I wanted her to tell me that she loved me. She never said it.

No One Wants You: Memoir of a child forced into Prostitution by Celine Roberts is published by Merlin.

Celine